Lakers End Reign of Spurs, Head to Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers have ended the reign of the San Antonio Spurs with a 100-92 victory in Game 5 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
The Lakers did it the same way they opened the series– with a furious rally to overcome a deficit pretenders would fold over. The Spurs led by as much as 17 in the first half but the Lakers clawed back to take the lead in the fourth quarter and eventually win.
I predicted that the Lakers would win over both the San Antonio Spurs or New Orleans Hornets in the Western Conference Finals, and I penciled the Lakers to win over the Spurs in 6 games. My analysis before the season started was also quite accurate– Tony Parker would give the problems (Parker led the team in scoring in the series) and the veterans on the bench would pose some problems (Brent Barry and Michael Finley had quality games in the series).
What did the Spurs in could be the age and fatigue factor– they have played three more play-off games than the Lakers. The Spurs defense clicked but their offense stagnated in a lot of stretches throughout the series. Manu Ginobili was a factor for only one game (and the Spurs won that game) and his over-all poor play weakened the team’s offense.
The Lakers, on the other hand, displayed they are resilient enough to climb out of large deficits and play tight defense when it mattered. The Bench Mob definitely grew up in this series as Lakers coach Phil Jackson let the 2nd team play through big leads. The series is also another feather in the cap of Kobe Bryant as he prevailed over nemesis Bruce Bowen. Kobe was able to log 27, 22, 30, 28 and 39 points over an All-Defensive Team member and he did it well within the the Lakers’ Triangle Offense.
The Lakers have done their part in building the NBA’s Dream Finals between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Let’s see if the Celtics can do their part and advance as well.